Yes, you heard me correctly. If you want to be more productive, do less but know WHY you’re doing it.
These days, we’re constantly reading about how to do more in less time. The question you need to ask yourself is “WHY?” What is it I need to do more of and why?
Are you a small business owner who needs more time to do paperwork? Rather than spend more of your own time on tasks that someone else can be helping with, delegate. Find someone who can do the job more efficiently, in less time.
Are you a parent who needs more time to keep up with things around the house? You too can delegate. Get the other members of your household to help out. Think your children are too young to help? Unless they’re still in diapers, any child can be given small, age-appropriate task to help with. Not only are you getting help but you’re doing them a favor in the long run by teaching them how.
Are you a single person who can just never find the time to get stuff done? Laundry, shopping, making travel arrangements, purchasing gifts. In our world these days, there are always people willing to be hired to help you do what needs to be done.
In order to figure out how to be more productive, you need to do is make note of five things:
- What you’re doing
- When you’re doing it
- Why you’re doing it
- Can someone else do it?
- What else would you rather be doing?
What you’re doing. Make note of your average week. Go day by day. Jot down everything including time for sleeping. Especially time for sleeping! Did you know you’re much more productive when you’ve had a good night’s sleep? And be realistic. If you say you’re online for 10 minutes a day when it’s really an hour, you have to own up to that.
When you’re doing it. Sketch out your average weekly schedule and be sure to fit all of WHAT you’re doing into the schedule. Don’t just say, I’ll run errands in 5 minutes I can squeeze in here or there. I don’t know a person on the planet who doesn’t have regular errands they run every week or every other week. You have to plan for that time otherwise you’ll feel stressed about getting those things done. Find a time for everything.
Why you’re doing it. These fall under the two basic categories – I want to or I have to. Work, eat, sleep, pay bills, do laundry – have to. Watch tv, read, go to a concert/sporting event, waste hours online – want to.
Can someone else do it? This is for the items you identified as HAVE TO. An example – you’re a small business owner who spends hours each week fighting over the books. You think you’re saving money by doing it yourself when all you’re getting is less time, more stress and you know what? Chances are you’re doing it wrong. Find someone else who can do it.
Another example – you’re a mom who needs to run errands. You know you could run the errands in 45 minutes if you were alone or they will take you twice that time with the kids. You can either delegate some of the errands or you can find a babysitter who can watch the kids for a little bit. You think you’re saving money by bringing the kids along but since it took 90 minutes to run the errands, now you are out of time to make dinner and you end up going out or getting take-out. There goes your savings. You don’t even have to spend money on it. Find another mom who is willing to trade off errand days. You take the kids while she runs errands, they do it next week.
What else would you rather be doing? This is the fun part and I’ll let you come up with your dream spare time activities!